Some products manage to make the internet buzz at launch, and that has certainly been the case with Hey.com, the new (subscription based) e-mail service by Basecamp.
I am probably not the right audience for it, and still there are three things they have done wonderfully. Three things marketers (and entrepreneurs) can learn from.
They have started with a manifesto. Hey is not a mere product, it is a way of life. A philosophy, as they put it. And that is just what you need when you are trying to refresh something everybody else is giving up for dead. They have plenty of bold statements in their manifesto (“they let email down”, “you don’t use Hey to check your Gmail account, you use Hey to check your Hey account”, “it’s time to push back”), and by being bold they are carving their own audience.
They present features in a way that is pleasant to watch, read and navigate. The animated pictures leave little to interpretation and get straight to the point. The language they use is easy to understand and relate to (“fix bad subjects withouth busting threads”). They address possible common questions instead of wasting space describing their technology. And you can use arrows to surf through the different features.
And finally, they have made the decision to let you try their product with no barriers (no credit card needed and no automatic charge after trial period). When you trust what you offer, you do not need to resort to tricks to inflate success.
Of course, the most important thing is that all of this (and much more) is consistent with a narrative Hey is building around its product. Other email services are old, clunky, shady, untrustworthy; we are new, simple, honest, empowering. Pick us.